Garson’s narrative technique is to meander through verbatim conversations with her subjects and from one interviewee to the next, following a winding trail that leads her finally to various economic pronouncements. She spends considerable time with members of “The Pink Slip Club,” four unemployed, formerly middle-income New Yorkers whom she compares to Seinfeld characters. These laid-off white-collar workers have some savings and family support, so their situation isn’t desperate. All four happen to be Wiccans, members of a coven, and they invite Garson to dance around a maypole with them, a joyous event. But as the months wear on, none of them finds a full-time job.
In a section on home insecurity, Garson introduces us to a sympathetic judge; homeowners strategizing about loan modifications, forbearances, short sales and other survival plans; and a former loan officer who once peddled subprime mortgages in California and now lives in a Las Vegas trailer park. Finally, Garson talks to Richard Bey, a radio and television talk show host who sunk all his money into a fund that froze its investors’ assets. To survive, he has had to sell his comic books, run up credit-card debt and prevail on the generosity of friends.
“I believe that hard work, dedication, talent, perseverance, all of those things should be rewarded,” a frustrated Bey tells Garson. “But what we have now is the law of the jungle. The lion eats everyone because he can.” His remarks serve as a pithy underlining of Garson’s own views in a book that is mostly far too long-winded.
Julia M. Klein reviewed this book for The Washington Post.